There may be no better throwback event in New York than The Feast of San Gennaro. It’s the annual festival that we attend, eat ourselves into an oblivion and reminds us of a piece of the old New York. Yes, to some, it’s an enormous street fair filled with carnies. However, to use, it represents the immigrant families who came to our city and built what we enjoy today.
It started when Italian immigrant families on Mulberry Street started the feast built a small chapel in the street to house the image of their patron Saint. They invited the entire neighborhood to share in what they constructed and asked everyone to pin an offering to the ribbon streamers that are hung from the statue’s apron. This money was then distributed to the needy poor of the neighborhood. While it’s a major tourist attraction that draws over 2 million people every year, it’s a reminder of the communities and neighborhoods that shape our great city.
This year marks the 93rd annual Feast of San Gennaro. While its roots have not changed, the event has expanded quite a bit. The annual event includes the best spots in Little Italy. Eat at some of the best Italian restaurants in the city, watch colorful parades, catch free concerts and check out family-friendly activities like bouncy houses, crafting and games. And, of course, don’t miss the world-famous cannoli eating competition. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking. Contestants take down mountains of cannolis from Ferrara Bakery on Friday, September 13th at 1pm. That is not the only eating competition though (hence the title of the piece). Other competitions include a zeppole-eating showdown on Wednesday, September 18th at 1 pm and a meatball-eating competition on Saturday, September 21st at 1 pm.
The Feast of San Gennaro is no doubt an eating affair. So, if you’re not coming to compete, take a walk down Mulberry, remember what it was an enjoy some zeppoles or maybe a sausage and pepper sandwich!